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British Airways drops M&S for short-haul economy food – Greggs to take over?

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British Airways has announced, via The Sun, that it has terminated its contract with Marks & Spencer to provide ‘buy on board’ food for short-haul economy passengers.

In a short statement, BA said:

We’re off on a new flight path.

“We look forward to announcing our exciting new buy-on-board proposition with a great British brand that customers have told us they love.”

This is believed to be either Greggs or Waitrose, with The Sun reporting that both companies have submitted proposals.

There could be a link with Avios dropping Tesco, with Waitrose potentially getting the on-board contract and becoming the Avios supermarket partner. This also makes it less likely that M&S/Ocado will get the Avios deal.

British Airways and Marks and Spencers food

But M&S doesn’t really provide BA catering …..

It is a common misconception that M&S actually ‘provides’ the food in short-haul economy. In truth, Tourvest – the supplier – buys a small number of M&S items and adds them to its existing range of products. If you count down the menu, the percentage which is branded M&S product is relatively small.

Whilst introducing buy on board was controversial when introduced, in truth it was a mercy killing for the existing offering. BA had actually fallen behind other airlines – on BA, you would get a drink and a small bag of pretzels. There was no other alternative even if you were hungry. Other carriers, whilst charging, did at least have a full offering.

Unfortunately, BA screwed it up. In various trips with Vueling, easyJet and Ryanair over the past couple of years, it has been clear that all have a far broader range – with better availability – than British Airways. Simply swapping an M&S sandwich for a Waitrose one, both of which are likely to come from the same factory anyway, won’t change that.

Comments (187)

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Greggs – really?? Can you imagine the mess left afterwards of all of that greasy flaky pastry all over the seats and the floors. BA have trouble enough cleaning their cabins between flights in any event. It would make an even cheaper airline cabin look presentable.
    Can we not have someone with a bit of pride in the product they are running, running the airline for a change???

  • cinereus says:

    Never understood how people can say anything positive about Greggs sandwiches.

  • TimM says:

    I assumed the Greggs suggestion was a provocative joke. I have often looked at Greggs while passing but have never yet felt the need to go in one. My brother tells me they do good coffee but I am an inverted coffee snob, I only drink instant. Whatever way BA goes, I imagine airside Boots will continue to do good business for BA short-haul economy passengers – a huge range at a fraction of the price.

    Now if BA chose Boots catering I would be pleasantly surprised.

    • mvcvz says:

      You like sandwiches from Boots? Really? REALLY? Takes all kinds I guess. I would rather eat my own boots.

      • Andrew says:

        Boots sandwiches are fine. Full English on baked bean bread – nom.

        Meal deal, 10% off for Contact Lens members, 7% back on Airtime or 5% back on Spree and 4% back in Boots Points.

        What’s not to like?

        Plus, always get the 1 litre bottle of Brecon Carreg.

        • TimM says:

          “Brecon Carreg” is a form of water sold in plastic bottles. I prefer Yorkshire water – it is delivered to us by permanent plumbing. We can even bathe in it in our own homes. I buy milk from airside Boots and am very irritated if there are two display fridges full of water in plastic bottles but not a single carton of fresh, nutritious milk. Egg & cress, tuna mayo and cheese and onion classic sandwiches in wholemeal bread for £1 a time – at the airport! And yes Boots have their own loyalty program (‘Advantage’) but they stopped refunding VAT for non EU flights quite some time ago.

        • mvcvz says:

          The fact that they taste like yesterday’s underpants perhaps?